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Big crowd welcomes Baer's new store in Melbourne, Fla.

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Nearly 2,000 people - consumers as well as party guests - made their way to Baer's largest store during the Nov. 7 opening here, as the Top 100 company staked a new claim on business in this Central Florida market.

 Baer’s acquired two buildings on West New Haven Avenue and bridged them to create its 100,000-square-foot store.Baer’s acquired two buildings on West New Haven Avenue and bridged them to create its 100,000-square-foot store.
 Baer’s CEO Bobby Baer welcomes consumers, industry leaders, community dignitaries and other guests to the opening of the retailer’s largest store in Melbourne, Fla.Baer’s CEO Bobby Baer welcomes consumers, industry leaders, community dignitaries and other guests to the opening of the retailer’s largest store in Melbourne, Fla.
 Baer’s posts its title as the “World’s largest dealer of Tommy Bahama Home” on the front door of the new Melbourne, Fla., store. The entire entrance area is dedicated to the Tommy Bahama collections from Lexington Home Brands, including this Ocean Club group.Baer’s posts its title as the “World’s largest dealer of Tommy Bahama Home” on the front door of the new Melbourne, Fla., store. The entire entrance area is dedicated to the Tommy Bahama collections from Lexington Home Brands, including this Ocean Club group.

The expansive 100,000-square-foot showroom on West New Haven Avenue is No. 15 for the Pompano Beach, Fla.-based retailer (including its Dania Beach, Fla., design center), and it dwarfs the size of competitors on this busy furniture row.

Baer's actually took two buildings - a former Hudson's Furniture store, which moved to a smaller location down the street, and a former nightclub - and bridged the two for one large showroom on a nine-acre parcel.

The company completed the interior and exterior renovation and opening in just a 17-week period.

Baer's CEO Bobby Baer estimated the retailer's total investment at about $7 million. He's hoping the store will do about $12 million in sales during the first 12 months and eventually work its way up to a $20 million store over four or five years.

"It's a great growth area," Baer said of Melbourne, adding that the midpriced to high-end retailer has been eying this market and Vero Beach, Fla., for some time. He said the retailer draws a lot of traffic from these market to its others stores despite drives of more than 50 miles.

Baer's used much of the extra space here to show even more goods from the "world's finest furniture brands" it prides itself on carrying, including Lexington Home Brands and Lexington's Tommy Bahama Home collections, Bernhardt, Hooker, Natuzzi, Theodore Alexander, Kingsdown and Serta in bedding and several Furniture Brands International brands including Henredon, Drexel Heritage, Broyhill and Thomasville.

While Baer's has a big special order business, a good 90% of its floor samples are inventoried, Bobby Baer said, noting that giving consumers the choice of immediate delivery or customization has been a driver of its success over the years.

Four hours into the opening and long before the party started, Baer's already had more than 500 consumers through the door, exceeding expectations for the full day. It was a "dream come true," Baer said.

"And people are buying; that's the important thing," he added. "This store will become a destination in the area, no doubt in my mind."

Even before the opening, plans were underway for another new store - a 65,000-square-foot showroom in Winter Garden, Fla., in the Orlando, area. The company plans to break ground in February and open in January 2015.

For more coverage and photos of the new Melbourne store, see the Nov. 18 print edition of Furniture/Today.

 

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